by Alice White
Possibly one of the most common things us women look for is coverage over the tops of our arms, so we have found a few gorgeous dresses that do just that.
Bodycon dresses are all the rage this season, so why not be bang on trend in style and colour with this gorgeous gold and black dress. Topshop's Amilie Dress, £110, is perfect for a body-confident woman who also wants a bit of coverage around the arms. Pair it with some stunning gold shoes and perhaps a metallic belt, and you're ready to go.
Alternatively, Monsoon's Blue Cape dress, £80 (below, left), is the perfect compromise between practical cover-up and pretty party dress. The sheer fabric cape with diamonte detail gives this dress an eye-catching look, and you can relax knowing that you look great without having to worry about showing your arms.
For a slightly cheaper, more understated look, the Brooke batwing-style dress (also from Monsoon, £65 - below, centre) is great for customising however you want. Being plain black, it's certain to be a dress you can wear again and again for different occasions.
M&S keep to the long-lasting lace theme that has been going for the last few years now, with this woven 3/4 length sleeve dress for £49.50 (above, right). A good length and a flattering neck-line makes this dress a good reliable staple for any woman's wardrobe.
Not everything at Christmas has to be as sparkly as the tree. That's why the next three dresses are wonderful for someone who believes that less is more. Plus these dresses can be paired with any jewellery and shoes, to create a whole range of looks.
One of our favourites, this colour block fishtail dress from Wallis is currently reduced from £75 to £60. The satin fabric on the chest adds a touch of evening-wear, and the tailored waistline with A-line skirt means that it will flatter any shape. With cute sleeves and a two-tone fishtail detail at the back, this dress is perfect for wearing to the office in the day, and then onto the Christmas party in the evening.
For the more petite-framed, this Topshop Mullet Hem dress by Rare is perfect, and it's only £24! Slightly longer at the back than it is at the front, it is unusual enough to stand out from the crowd, but plain enough for you to add your own touch of Christmas glamour.
For an understated look that's slightly more geared towards evening-wear, Wallis offer this wine-coloured pin-tuck satin dress for £52 (reduced from £65). The long sleeves and shirt-like detail make it perfect for day-time wear with a pair of jeans, but swap those for tights and heels in the evening for a flexible party outfit.
Christmas is the perfect opportunity to wear a head-turning, jaw-dropping, show-stopping dress that otherwise would look totally over-the-top. Here are our favourites:
The Monsoon Sapphire Dress, £180. Well, what can we say? If you want to channel your inner-celebrity and feel like red-carpet royalty, then this is the dress for you. The bright blue satin will stand out amongst any crowd, and the nipped-in waistline means you won't get lost in a mound of material. With split flared sleeves and a floor-length pleated skirt, this is truly an Oscar-worthy outfit. Just don't blame us for the ensuing chaos as people clamber for your autograph.
Continuing with the maxi dress theme, the following two are less red-carpet and more quietly confident. Topshop's green maxi dress with a split neck is only £50, and is certainly an unusual yet pretty colour for this time of year. Taking the hue to a more subdued teal, Holly Willoughby for Very has this jersey bustier maxi for £69. The rouching around the midriff is great for concealing any tummy worries you might have.
When the frills, sequins and fuss of other dresses gets too much, sometimes all you want is something pretty that you know will get the job done.
M&S are the masters of creating reliable, pretty and practical party dresses that suit most shapes. Although velvet is often a controversial fabric choice, we think that this crossover V-neck wrap dress is beautiful. With enough detailing and rouching around the bust and sleeves to make it special, this dress is definitely one to keep for years. It's currently reduced from £39.50 to only £19, so grab it while you can!
Also from M&S is the more youthful velvet and satin prom dress, £89. We've absolutely fallen in love with the high neck-line and playful puff-ball skirt, and the warm colour will look good against pale skin tones.
Very's Savoir embellished dress is only £55 and yet the embellishment around the neck and waistline is just enough to suggest it costs a lot more. The A-line skirt shape makes this a timeless classic, and the on-trend colour can be paired with simple black accessories or - if you're feeling a little more daring - some hot pink heels, bolero and lipstick.
Obviously there's a never-ending supply of accessories out there, but we have narrowed down a few must-haves that not only look amazing, but should go with a whole range of outfits.
Available in red and black, these pretty shoes from Very will make even the simplest of outfits into a Christmas party hit. The red pair are perfect to give a splash of colour to a monochromatic outfit, and inversely the black are the ideal accompaniment for any coloured dress. They are only £40 and come in wide-fit sizes too.
If your outfit is following the metallic theme that is currently big this season, these gold heels from Monsoon will fit right in. At £60 they're on the more pricey side, but they're sure to last for a long time and add sparkle to any outfit.
If you need to wrap up warm this Christmas (very likely), cropped jackets are all the rage. Available in dark blue and black from Very, £55, this faux fur coat will bring glamour and warmth without breaking the bank.
As is inevitable when researching articles such as this one, you are bound to come across some absolutely shocking dresses and accessories. Listed below are what we can only describe as some of the most odd, disturbing clothing items available to buy on the high street in 2011.
Channel your inner Lady Gaga with this overwhelming sequined dress with cut-out shoulders and a strange neck line. We think it best that the outrageous outfits are left to the eccentric pop stars, but if you do fancy yourself as one, you can buy this dress from Topshop's website for £80.
If the above dress didn't quite satisfy your sequin cravings, then why not pair it with these lovely sparkly UGG boots? (Below, left). Let's be honest, they can't make you look much worse, and on a practical note they are perfect for looking glamorous on cold winter evenings wading through ice and snow. £190 from Very.
But the grand finale is this black and white striped shirt dress by KTZ for Topshop. For ONLY £195 you too could look like a convict crossed with MC Hammer, who has had a run-in with Edward Scissor Hands. We don't think there's much more to say.